Write a story ending with: "... Now I realise the value of a true friend."

- by Abigail Shannon Chua
Wesley Methodist School Melaka

We sat behind a desk, Professor Painswick yelling at us.

"Do you understand what you have to do?" she screamed at us, the chandelier practically shaking with the vibration of her voice.

"Yes, professor," we answered dully as I was staring down at my feet.

We had turned the library upside down in a fight this afternoon. I was looking for books when a whole pile of them fell on top of me. It turned out that Lewis had pushed them and he grinned at me from above as I struggled to free myself from the books. When he had got down, in a rage I smashed him into a bookshelf and it came tumbling down. The other bookshelves too went down like skittles as we watched in horror. The other students had run out in panic.

We were caught red-handed by the librarian, Professor Painswick, who later ordered us to clean and tidy up the entire library as a punishment.

"And remember boys, no help allowed," she grinned as she slammed the door behind her. We stared at the massive pile of books underneath and around the bookshelves.

"Why did you try to bury me under a pile of books?" I yelled at Lewis.

"You're too serious, Trent. Learn to let loose a little," he grinned just as the door was flung open. Our friends, Sally and Rachel stood in the doorway and stared at the scene around us.

"Wow, what a wreck!" Sally giggled as they walked into the room.

"Yeah, and we have until dinner to clean it all up. That leaves us бн around three hours," I said.

"That's why we're here," she said and started to pick up the books. "She didn't say that we can't help you, did she? Professor Painswick has always been strict about the cleanliness and tidiness of her library. And you boys are not at all helpful about them," Rachel said as she started to sort out a pile of books. We stood there, unaware of what to do and Rachel looked up from her pile of books.

"Well, aren't you going to help us?" she asked and we quickly got to work. Lewis and I cooperated to put the bookshelves back to their upright positions. Then, we helped the girls with the books. After we had sorted out the books according to their numbers and alphabets, Sally arranged them neatly back on their shelves. After nearly three hours, we lay sprawled on the chairs, glancing around our work. All the books had been arranged neatly on their shelves and the girls had even vacuumed the library and cleaned the furniture.

"Girls," I muttered and Lewis nodded in agreement. Sally and Rachel flung themselves on the chairs next to us and sighed.

"Finally, we're done," Rachel said, yawning and stretching. Suddenly, we heard footsteps coming from the hallway. "You girls had better disappear," I said and they ran and hid behind a bookshelf at the back. The professor walked into the library and glanced around.

"Nice job," she said and we sighed in relief. "Now you'd better get out of my sight," she snarled and pointed towards the door. While we were running out, we heard her muttering to herself about teenage boys who were finally able to do a proper job.

"That's a miracle," Sally said as she and Rachel caught up with us, after they had exited via the back door. "Thanks a lot," I said and they smiled at us. "Let's go for a drink," Lewis suggested. As we were walking down the hallway, I could not help but think, "Now I realise the value of a true friend."